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Treva Walkling collection

Identifier: MS 2979


This collection consists of the diaries, photographs, correspondence, financial records, address books, and ephemera belonging to Treva Walkling (1909-1997), a Baltimore career woman.


  • 1893-1998


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note


March 21 – Born in Westminster, Maryland to Ernest and Eva Walkling

circa 1928

Left family home in Westminster to move to Baltimore where began her career as a working woman at the Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville


Worked at Purity Creamery


Trip to Florida


Worked at the Randy Rock Drive-In


January 3 – Lifelong companion, Ben Gettings, died


Worked at Suburban House until retirement in 1974


Trip to San Francisco, Hawaii, and Las Vegas


Trip to Spokane, Washington, and Oregon


January – Trip to Florida with Ruth (possibly Rosenberger, her cousin), and Louise (her brother Pumpy’s wife)


September 13 – Brother Pumpy died


Died in Baltimore (sometime after June 15, her last diary entry)


3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Treva Walkling Collection consists of eight major series: 1) Diaries; 2) Photographs; 3) Work Experience; 4) Travel Memorabilia; 5) Correspondence; 6) Financial Records; 7) Address Books, and 8) Ephemera. The material in this collection ranges from 1893-1998.

Items within each series are arranged either chronologically or by subject in alphabetical order. Within folders, all undated material comes before the dated material unless this ordering would take away from the integrity of original groupings.

Series I: Diaries of Treva Walkling, 1959-1997 (2 boxes, 1 linear foot)

This series, arranged chronologically, includes thirty-seven diaries with miscellaneous items gathered inside; one miscellaneous notebook (combination diary, address book, and ephemera); and one miscellaneous box from S and N Katz Jewelers, which held some of Ben Gettings’s ephemera. All material saved in the diaries has been kept in the original order and original diary to preserve integrity. Treva began her diary in 1959 and ended in July 1997 (with the exception of 1993). The ephemera Treva collected in her diaries includes, but is not limited to, receipts, death notices (obituaries), post cards and other correspondence, business cards, pens and pencils, newspaper clippings, doctor’s notes and prescriptions, auto related papers, work related receipts, and home related receipts.

The following are a sampling of Treva’s diary entries about everyday occurrences and important events, which will give researchers an idea as to what kind of information the diaries contain.

In the first year of Treva’s diary, 1959, she notes on January 27 that she was caught speeding on a trip to Florida, but was only given a warning. On February 17 of that first year, Treva began recording the daily amount of money she spent; this would become a constant in her diary entries. In January 1966, Treva discusses her partner, Ben Gettings’s, three week stay in the hospital for an undisclosed heart ailment. One year later, on January 3, 1967, Treva records the events of Ben’s last day (he died that afternoon). Ben’s death certificate is in the Ephemera series, subseries 1. On September 13, 1980, Treva records the death of her beloved brother, Pumpy Walkling. On March 21, 1989, Treva mentions her niece, Eve Carr (the collection donor), whom had a birthday cake sent to Treva at a church function--this diary entry corresponds to pictures twenty-five through twenty-seven in the photographs series. In the early 1990s, Treva’s diary entries become sparse, and are not kept daily. Her last three entries demonstrate this trend. On May 18, 1997, she notes that she was rear-ended while at a stoplight and her car could not be fixed. On May 23, she brought home a new car. On June 15, her last entry, Treva notes that while coming home from a birthday party she had another car accident.

Series II: Photographs, undated, 1909-1996 (.5 box, .25 linear feet)

This series, arranged chronologically, contains assorted photographs from the life of Treva Walkling. The forty photographs are accompanied by a list of captions provided mainly by the donor, Eve Carr. The following photograph index matches the index found with the photographs. The numbers in the corner of each photograph envelope correspond to the number order on the index.

Series III: Work Experience, undated, 1928-1974 (.25 box, .125 linear feet)

This series, arranged chronologically, contains material relating to Treva Walkling’s career working mainly as a waitress.

Subseries 1: The beginning and Purity Creamery, undated, 1928-1947 (box 3, 1 folder)

This subseries contains information on Treva’s first job and her time at Purity Creamery. Her first job is represented by a letter, dated 1928, offering Treva employment at Spring Grove Hospital. The material related to Purity Creamery consists of a combination Christmas and New Year’s card from Purity Creamery; a photo from inside Purity Creamery, Treva is the second from the left (including woman at separate counter); an unspecified loan amount note with blank letterhead from “Law Offices of Harlan & Harlan, Title Building, 106 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD,” also includes envelope with Purity Creamery information in upper left corner; a W-2 from Purity Creamery; a newspaper clipping of the fire at Purity Creamery.

Subseries 2: Randy Rock Drive-In, undated, 1961 (box 3, 1 folder)

This subseries contains a photo of an unidentified man sitting on a stool by a counter; a green menu from Randy Rock; an orange menu from Randy Rock; a photo of workers at Randy Rock, the back reads “Katie, Xmas of 1961, Randy Rock”; and a photo of workers at Randy Rock with a slightly different pose and grouping from the first picture, back reads “Treva, Xmas of 1961, Randy Rock”.

Subseries 3: Suburban House, undated, 1968-1973 (box 3, 1 folder)

This subseries contains a postcard that shows the interior of Suburban House; a memo “to all waitresses” about new prices; a typed “personal message” telling waitresses how to improve job performance; a typed “notice to entire staff” concerning the care of desserts; a Suburban House menu; an altered Suburban House menu where all of the prices have been marked out and changed; inter-office correspondence concerning liquor sales; the “Dining Out” section of “Gourmet’s Delight” paper which has an article on Suburban House; and a copy of an article from “Hospitality” concerning making better tips.

Series IV: Travel Memorabilia, circa 1940s-1982 (.5 box, .25 linear feet)

This series, arranged alphabetically by subject, contains memorabilia related to Treva’s many travels across the country. The bulk of the material covers her trip to San Francisco, Hawaii, and Las Vegas in 1971.

Subseries 1: Brochures, undated, 1945-1975 (box 3, 1 folder) This subseries contains brochures and travel literature. The bulk is from Treva’s Trade Winds Tour of San Francisco, Hawaii, and Las Vegas. This subseries also contains a little brochure from Cypress Gardens; a brochure for Hotel Roberts in Miami; a souvenir program from Hialeah (a thoroughbred racetrack); and a brochure for New Orleans.

Subseries 2: Correspondence, undated, 1947-1959 (box 3, 1 folder)

This subseries contains a card from “Boots” (a man who Treva worked with) sent to the Exotic Gardens in Miami Beach; a telegram from Wretha to Treva; a confirmation letter for a hotel reservation; and six postcards all mailed from Florida to Ben Gettings.

Subseries 3: Ephemera, undated, 1953-1982 (box 3, 1 folder)

This subseries contains twenty-four pieces of travel-related ephemera. The subseries consists of miscellaneous cards from mainly motels and restaurants; seven matchbooks; four napkins from various restaurants; five blank postcards; and a bar of soap from the “Golf Club Motor Hotel on the strip” in Las Vegas.

Subseries 4: Journals, 1947-1979 (box 4, 1 folder)

This subseries contains four journals that detail four different trips. Journal 1 covers a 1947 trip to Florida. Journal 2 covers the trip to San Francisco, Hawaii and Las Vegas. Journal 3 covers a 1978 trip to Spokane, Washington, and Oregon. Journal 4 covers a 1979 trip to Florida with Ruth (possibly her cousin Ruth Rosenberger), and Louise (Treva’s brother Pumpy’s wife).

Subseries 5: Photographs, 1971 (box 4, 1 folder)

This subseries contains 72 photographs in a photo album. A few photos are from the airport and the Golden Gate Bridge, both in San Francisco, but the bulk of photographs are from Hawaii.

Series V: Correspondence, undated, 1926-1998 (.75 box, .475 linear feet)

This series, roughly arranged chronologically, contains personal correspondence between Treva and family and friends. The bulk of the material comes from wartime correspondence, birthday cards, and other miscellaneous cards.

Subseries 1: V-mail and wartime correspondence, 1943-1945 (box 4, 4 folders)

This subseries contains 55 V-mails, six letters, two postcards, and two death notices. Of the 55 V-mails, all except for three are from a “Pfc. (later Cpl.) J.R. Dobson”, who signs his letters “Dick”. He worked at the Lexington Market across from the Purity Creamery where Treva worked. Dick was married to a woman named Thelma, and in his letters he thanks Treva for watching out for his wife. Of the other three V-mails, one is from William F. Wossowsky, and two are from R.D. Brumet. All six of the letters are from Dick, five are from his training days at Camp Lee and in Western Pennsylvania, and the last letter contains a picture of Dick in uniform. The two postcards in this subseries date from 1967-1968 and were sent to Treva from a vacationing Dick and Thelma. The two death notices are for Dick and Thelma. (Note: the first folder in this subseries contains the three V-mails that are from William Wossowsky and R.D. Brumet even though chronologically they should come later. This was done to maintain the integrity of Dick’s correspondence).

Subseries 2: Correspondence from Treva to her mother, 1947 (box 4, 1 folder)

This subseries contains eight letters, which Treva wrote to her mother while on vacation in Florida in 1947. Treva discusses different places she visited and people she met. Several times Treva tells her mother that they should move to Florida. Treva also asks about the welfare of family and friends. In letter 2 (dated January 12, 1947) Treva states that she received the news clippings from Mr. Boots about the fire at Purity Creamery. The two news clippings are also enclosed in this folder.

Subseries 3: Cards and correspondence, undated, 1926-1998 (box 5, 2 folders)

This subseries contains mostly birthday and other holiday cards, and also telegrams and letters; all were sent from family and friends to Treva. The researcher may note that there are several Mother’s Day cards in this subseries even though Treva did not have children. Many of Treva’s family and friends thought of her as their mother and therefore sent her cards on Mother’s Day. This subseries also contains two e-mails, written in 1998, between family and friends after Treva died.

Series VI: Financial Records, undated, 1924-1949 (.25 box, .125 linear feet)

This series, arranged chronologically, contains documents relating to Treva’s finances and consists of her social security card; a mileage chart and gasoline expenditures for a trip; a state of Maryland driver’s license; a Budget Envelope System; a receipt for house furnishings; a receipt for furniture movers; a letter from Baltimore Federal Savings & Loan Association (BFSLA) about War Damage Insurance; a letter from BFSLA about paying off mortgages early with higher monthly payments; a letter from BFSLA reminding Treva she needs War Damage Insurance; a letter from BFSLA praising Treva for prompt payments; a letter from BFSLA asking that patrons make payments or deposits from the first through twenty-fifth of the month due to a reduction in bank personnel who had joined the armed forces; and a receipt for a new Studebaker Champ Regal that Treva bought.

Series VII: Address Books, undated (1 box, .5 linear feet)

This series contains twelve undated address books, which hold a wide variety of ephemera including (but not limited to) business cards, receipts, death notices, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. The ephemera have been left in the address books to maintain the integrity of how the creator, Treva Walkling, saved and organized material.

Series VIII: Ephemera, undated, 1893-1996 (.75 box, .475 linear feet)

This series, arranged alphabetically, contains a variety of ephemera that Treva collected throughout her life.

Subseries 1: Ben Gettings, undated, 1942-1967 (box 5, 1 folder) This subseries contains ephemera related to Ben Gettings, Treva’s companion of several decades. Items include a picture of Ben; two business cards for “Gettings Brothers” poultry market at Lexington Market; two business cards for “Benjamin S. Gettings”; a blank postcard; Ben’s delayed certificate of birth; Ben’s honorable discharge paper from the U.S. Army; Ben’s notice of classification; two of Ben’s death notices laminated on bookmarks; a sympathy card for Ben’s family; and Ben’s certificate of death.

Subseries 2: Dog memorabilia, undated, 1952-1967 (box 5, 1 folder)

This subseries contains material related to Treva’s love of her dogs. Items consist of miscellaneous papers; a newspaper clipping of a dog; American Kennel Club registration certificates; two pedigree charts; two envelopes which held many of these items; a distemper vaccine certificate; a rabies vaccine certificate; burial receipts from Oakleigh Pet Cemetery; receipts from the cemetery; a first prize ribbon from the Catonsville Kennel Club; and two dog tag licenses.

Subseries 3: Luther’s Small Catechism Book, 1893 (box 5, 1 folder)

This subseries contains one catechism book with ephemera in the back such as correspondence. Book has slight water damage in upper left corner.

Subseries 4: Miscellaneous, undated, 1923-1991 (box 5, 1 folder)

This subseries consists of miscellaneous items relating to Treva’s life. Items consist of two address labels; a blank postcard from Lexington Market; half of an envelope with half of a ten dollar bill inside; a driver’s license holder from C. Foos Pure Food Products; a card for the 1923 Westminster Sheriff’s race; an envelope with a pin stuck in it (man on pin is unidentified); and a card (receipt) from the Watch and Clock Museum.

Subseries 5: Printed Material, undated, 1942-1996 (box 5, 1 folder)

This subseries consists of various printed materials including two newspaper clippings; a page of handwritten birthdays; and nineteen death notices (some on laminated cards).

Subseries 6: Racing memorabilia, 1947-1956 (box 5, 1 folder)

This subseries contains ephemera related to one of Treva’s many loves–horse racing. Items consist of a newspaper clipping of race results; a sweepstakes receipt from Hialeah Park; and three tickets from races at the “Fairgrounds”.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Eve Carr, niece of Treva Walkling, in June 1999 and October 2001.

Separated Materials

Approximately nineteen of the donated items have been transferred from the Library collection to the Maryland Historical Society’s Gallery holdings.

Scope and Contents

The Treva Walkling Collection spans the life of Treva Walkling (1909-1997). The material consists of diaries, photographs, correspondence, financial records, address books, and a variety of ephemera; which have been arranged within the framework of eight series by subject (discussed in more detail in the series descriptions).

All of the material centers on the life of Treva Walkling, and the many family members, friends, and travels that enriched her life. The bulk of the material deals with her everyday life. From diaries to newspaper clippings to photographs, the essence of Treva’s everyday life is captured. For example, Treva wrote down in her diaries how much money she spent each day. Treva was a career woman from circa 1928-1974, and the collection contributes valuable insight into a working woman’s life. Although Treva never married, the collection provides insight into the relationship between men and women, especially during the 1940s-1960s. Treva had a lifelong partner, Ben Gettings, and numerous male friends; one of whom maintained continuous correspondence with Treva during World War II. These V-mails and letters provide valuable information not only on the war, but on Treva’s friendships with the author, Dick, and Ben Gettings. Treva’s other correspondence, mostly cards, and her diaries attest to how many people enriched Treva’s life and vice versa. Treva constantly helped others, and had many dear friends as evidenced by the many death notices she saved. Treva’s love of travel comes through in the travel memorabilia she saved and the journals she kept while on vacation. The numerous photographs also provide a visual reference to connect the pieces of Treva’s life.

The story of Treva Walkling’s life, preserved in this collection, is a significant source of Baltimore history, especially a working woman’s relation in and to society. Treva, by meticulously documenting her life, has left much of value to the researcher.

Guide to the Treva Walkling collection
Under Revision
Kristen Taynor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-30: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States